Everyone deserves the opportunity to hear the Gospel, regardless of ability.
Ability Ministry, a Southeast Christian Church ministry partner in Knoxville, Tennessee, has made that truth their mission.
Since 1983, Ability Ministry has been making the hope of Christ accessible to children and adults with disabilities through its Christ-centered living facility and partnerships with individuals, organizations and local churches to provide ministry resources and training.
Southeast is continuing its partnership with Ability Ministry by hosting indispensABLE, Ability Ministry’s regional conference for church and lay leaders, families touched by disabilities and individuals interested in serving in disabilities ministry. The one-day conference will be held Saturday, March 16, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Southeast’s Blankenbaker Campus.
According to Southeast’s Disabilities Ministry Leader Mary Tatum, 20 percent of people in the average church congregation either have a disability or have a family member with a disability.
“Even if there are only 100 people in your church, statistically, around 20 of those people are impacted by disabilities in some way,” Tatum said. “And unfortunately, there just aren’t many resources available to churches to help them minister to those people and their families.”
The indispensABLE conference hopes to help change that.
The conference is based on 1 Corinthians 12:22, which says, “On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem weaker are indispensable.”
Tatum hopes the conference will raise awareness of the necessity and potential of ministering to those with disabilities.
“I think many church leaders want to serve the people in their churches affected by disabilities themselves or in their families, but are unsure of where to start and what’s available for them,” she said. “This conference is a great starting point for people to see what resources and training are available to them. We hope that people will walk away empowered to start somewhere.”
Conference attendees can expect to hear from disability ministry leaders from across the country in a keynote address and eight comprehensive workshops.
Southeast’s Disabilities Ministry Associate Garett Wall said one of the greatest benefits of attending a conference like this is the opportunity for connection.
“Our family has a child with disabilities, and I can say from experience that there is a lot of encouragement and empowerment in being able to connect with other families and together learn about how to make the Gospel more available to our children,” Wall said.
Ability Ministry Executive Director Gary Spangler said, “If something is indispensable, it is something that you cannot do without. It is something that is absolutely necessary. It is something that if you are missing it, you know it. You know it because there is a feeling of being incomplete without it. It is interesting that God would choose the word indispensable when talking about people with disabilities. It’s interesting because our culture sends the opposite message. God makes no mistakes. God makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 12:22 that if your church is missing people with disabilities it is incomplete. At indispensABLE, you will find out what you have been missing and how to become a complete church.”
Tickets can be purchased at www.ability
ministry.com for $25 each or the day of the conference for $30 each. Tickets include lunch and take-home ministry resources.
For information, contact Southeast’s Disabilities Ministry at (502) 253-8126.